Abstract Spot welding is one of the most important technologies for joining sheet metal. While there are lot of approaches to non-destructive testing, quality assurance still mainly relies on welding parameter monitoring and destructive testing, leading to significant failure rates. In this paper an approach to spot weld testing using flash thermography is presented. The main focus of attention is on the identification of two typical error classes: stick welds and welds at the splash limit. Besides investigating the principal feasibility of thermography for zinc plated samples the results of a series test of spot welds joining 1mm thick TRIP steel are shown. Based upon these results a statistical criterion is developed which allows a reliable classification of the named error classes.